Bridge Safety: Improving Infrastructure to Meet 21st Century Transportation Needs

Bridges are critical to the nation’s transportation system and economy. With an average age of 43 years, existing U.S. bridges are subject to aging, deterioration, corrosion, cracking, delamination, material fatigue, and chemical degradation. These problems may occur naturally over time or as a result of conditions such as traffic and weather events. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, approximately 178 million vehicles cross over 47,000 structurally deficient U.S. bridges every day.

Our titles discuss issues of the design, maintenance, and inspection of bridges, and offer guidance to transportation agencies, builders, and federal, state, and local planners. All are free to download.

Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future

TRB Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future explores pending and future federal investment and policy decisions concerning the federal Interstate Highway System. Congress …


The Vital Federal Role in Meeting the Highway Innovation Imperative

TRB Special Report 331 concludes that with sustained and adequate funding and modest improvements in research, development, and technology (RD&T), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint …


Performance of Bridges That Received Funding Under the Innovative Bridge Research and Construction Program

TRB Special Report 330: Performance of Bridges That Received Funding Under the Innovative Bridge Research and Construction Program, examines the results of a federal program to promote innovation in highway bridge construction. The report …


Research to Support Evaluation of Truck Size and Weight Regulations

TRB’s Truck Size and Weight Limits Research Plan Committee has issued its second and final report, Research to Support Evaluation of Truck Size and Weight Regulations, to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The report presents a research plan …


Bridge System Safety and Redundancy

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 776: Bridge System Safety and Redundancy provides proposed revisions to the design philosophy section of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials …


Proposed Guideline for Reliability-Based Bridge Inspection Practices

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 782: Proposed Guideline for Reliability-Based Bridge Inspection Practices presents a proposed guideline for reliability-based bridge inspection practices and provides two case …


State Bridge Load Posting Processes and Practices

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 453: State Bridge Load Posting Processes and Practices is a synthesis of the practices of U.S. state governments in restricting weights of vehicles that can cross highway …


Bridges for Service Life Beyond 100 Years: Innovative Systems, Subsystems, and Components

TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Report S2-R19A-RW-1: Bridges for Service Life Beyond 100 Years: Innovative Systems, Subsystems, and Components develops approaches and procedures to enhance service life design for …


Sharing Clinical Trial Data to Advance Scientific Discovery and Improve Care

Clinical trials generate vast amounts of data, yet a large portion of this information is never published or made available to other researchers. Data sharing could advance scientific discovery and improve clinical care, but it involves potential risks and costs for key stakeholders, including clinical trialists, sponsors, researchers, and patients. Our publications discuss the challenges and opportunities for stakeholders to better harmonize incentives, policy, data standards, and governance to encourage the sharing and reuse of clinical trial data sharing.

Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Risk

Data sharing can accelerate new discoveries by avoiding duplicative trials, stimulating new ideas for research, and enabling the maximal scientific knowledge and benefits to be gained from the efforts of clinical trial participants and …


The Prevention and Treatment of Missing Data in Clinical Trials

Randomized clinical trials are the primary tool for evaluating new medical interventions. Randomization provides for a fair comparison between treatment and control groups, balancing out, on average, distributions of known and unknown factors …


Sharing Clinical Research Data: Workshop Summary

Pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, and government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health all possess large quantities of clinical research data. If these data were shared more widely …


Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies: Key to Unlocking Precision Medicine

Every patient is unique, and the evolving field of precision medicine aims to ensure the delivery of the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. In an era of rapid advances in biomedicine and enhanced understanding of the genetic …


Discussion Framework for Clinical Trial Data Sharing: Guiding Principles, Elements, and Activities

Sharing data generated through the conduct of clinical trials offers the promise of placing evidence about the safety and efficacy of therapies and clinical interventions on a firmer basis and enhancing the benefits of clinical trials. …


A National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the NCI Cooperative Group Program

The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program has played a key role in developing new and improved cancer therapies. However, the program is falling short of its potential, and the IOM recommends changes that aim …


Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and Care

In an era of promising advances in cancer research, there are considerable and even alarming gaps in the fundamental knowledge and understanding of ovarian cancer. Researchers now know that ovarian cancer is not a single disease–several distinct …


Improving the Nation’s Electric Power Grid: Challenges and Opportunities


The electric power and distribution system in the United States is a critical component of our infrastructure that people rely on every day. It is a complex network of wires, transformers, and associated equipment and control software designed to transmit electricity from where it is generated, usually in centralized power plants, to commercial, residential, and industrial users. As the U.S. infrastructure has become increasingly dependent on electricity, vulnerabilities in the grid have the potential to cascade well beyond whether the lights turn on, impacting basic services such as the fueling infrastructure, the economic system, and emergency services. Our publications explore how to create an electric power grid for the future – one that optimizes operational efficiency and is resilient against attacks and disasters.


Analytic Research Foundations for the Next-Generation Electric Grid

Electricity is the lifeblood of modern society, and for the vast majority of people that electricity is obtained from large, interconnected power grids. However, the grid that was developed in the 20th century, and the incremental improvements made since then, including its underlying analytic …


Mathematical Sciences Research Challenges for the Next-Generation Electric Grid: Summary of a Workshop

If the United States is to sustain its economic prosperity, quality of life, and global competitiveness, it must continue to have an abundance of secure, reliable, and affordable energy resources. There have been many improvements in the technology and capability of the electric grid over the …


Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System

Americans’ safety, productivity, comfort, and convenience depend on the reliable supply of electric power. The electric power system is a complex “cyber-physical” system composed of a network of millions of components spread out across the continent. These components are owned, operated, …


The Resilience of the Electric Power Delivery System in Response to Terrorism and Natural Disasters: Summary of a Workshop

The Resilience of the Electric Power Delivery System in Response to Terrorism and Natural Disasters is the summary of a workshop convened in February 2013 as a follow-up to the release of the National Research Council report Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System. That …


Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System

The electric power delivery system that carries electricity from large central generators to customers could be severely damaged by a small number of well-informed attackers. The system is inherently vulnerable because transmission lines may span hundreds of miles, and many key facilities are …


National Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Resources for Action and Prevention

Domestic violence has numerous mental, neurocognitive, and psychosocial impacts across the lifespan, affecting the health and opportunities of many individuals. The National Academies’ Forum on Global Violence Prevention works to reduce violence worldwide by promoting research on both protective and risk factors and encouraging evidence-based prevention efforts. The Forum aims to facilitate dialogue and exchange by bringing together experts from all areas of violence prevention, including behavioral scientists, policy makers, criminal justice professionals, social service providers, economists, legal experts, journalists, philanthropists, faith-based organizations, corporate social responsibility officers, among others. These publications assess the impact of violence across the lifespan in order to improve the welfare of individuals and society.

Addressing the Social and Cultural Norms That Underlie the Acceptance of Violence: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

Social and cultural norms are rules or expectations of behavior and thoughts based on shared beliefs within a specific cultural or social group. While often unspoken, norms offer social standards for appropriate and inappropriate behavior that …


Identifying the Role of Violence and Its Prevention in the Post-2015 Global Agenda: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

To illuminate the role of violence and its prevention in the post-2015 global agenda, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention convened a 2-day meeting to explore the ways in which …


The Neurocognitive and Psychosocial Impacts of Violence and Trauma: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, can affect an individual’s health and opportunities as an adult and have far-reaching effects on future violence victimization and perpetration. To better understand the impact of violence and …


Violence and Mental Health: Opportunities for Prevention and Early Detection: Proceedings of a Workshop

On February 26–27, 2014, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention convened a workshop titled Mental Health and Violence: Opportunities for Prevention and Early Intervention. The …


Public Policy Approaches to Violence Prevention: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on December 1–2, 2016, with the aim of illuminating the ways in which violence prevention practitioners can effectively share their evidenced-based research findings …


Means of Violence: Workshop in Brief

In an average day, there are approximately 4,000 violent deaths across the globe. In 1 week, there are 26,000 and in 1 month, 120,000. Workshop speaker James Mercy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted that these figures …


Preventing Intimate Partner Violence in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania: Summary of a Joint Workshop by the Institute of Medicine, the National Research Council, and the Uganda National Academy of Sciences

Globally, between 15-71 percent of women will experience physical and/or sexual abuse from an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Too often this preventable form of violence is repetitive in nature, occurring at multiple points …


Elder Abuse and Its Prevention: Workshop Summary

Elder Abuse and Its Prevention is the summary of a workshop convened in April 2013 by the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention. Using an ecological framework, this workshop explored the burden of elder abuse around …


The Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World: Workshop Summary

The Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World is the summary of a workshop convened in January 2013 by the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention to explore value and application of the …


Contagion of Violence: Workshop Summary

The past 25 years have seen a major paradigm shift in the field of violence prevention, from the assumption that violence is inevitable to the recognition that violence is preventable. Part of this shift has occurred in thinking about why …


Communications and Technology for Violence Prevention: Workshop Summary

In the last 25 years, a major shift has occurred in the field of violence prevention, from the assumption that violence is inevitable to the realization that violence is preventable. As we learn more about what works to reduce violence, the …


Social and Economic Costs of Violence: Workshop Summary

Measuring the social and economic costs of violence can be difficult, and most estimates only consider direct economic effects, such as productivity loss or the use of health care services. Communities and societies feel the effects of violence …


Preventing Violence Against Women and Children: Workshop Summary

Violence against women and children is a serious public health concern, with costs at multiple levels of society. Although violence is a threat to everyone, women and children are particularly susceptible to victimization because they often have …


Protecting Forests in a Changing World

Forests cover nearly one-third of the United States, accounting for more than 1 million square miles. Because of their vital role in carbon storage, nutrient cycling, and air and water purification, as well as in supplying habitat for wildlife, maintaining forest health is essential.

Today, nonnative invasive tree pests, more virulent native pests, increases in size and frequency of wildfires, and climate changes all threaten the health of our forests. The loss of a tree species can have cascading adverse effects on ecosystems, both on the range of services it provides and the values it represents to human populations. Our publications explore challenges and opportunities to reduce the impacts of our changing world on forest health. All are free to download.


Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations

The American chestnut, whitebark pine, and several species of ash in the eastern United States are just a few of the North American tree species that have been functionally lost or are in jeopardy of being lost due to outbreaks of pathogens and …


A Century of Wildland Fire Research: Contributions to Long-term Approaches for Wildland Fire Management: Proceedings of a Workshop

Although ecosystems, humans, and fire have coexisted for millennia, changes in geology, ecology, hydrology, and climate as well as sociocultural, regulatory, and economic factors have converged to make wildland fire management exceptionally …


Urban Forestry: Toward an Ecosystem Services Research Agenda: A Workshop Summary

Much of the ecological research in the past decades has focused on rural or wilderness areas. Today, however, ecological research has been taking place in our cities, where our everyday decisions can have profound effects on our environment. …


Climate Change Education: Engaging Family Private Forest Owners on Issues Related to Climate Change: A Workshop Summary

The forested land in the United States is an asset that is owned and managed not only by federal, state, and local governments, but also by families and other private groups, including timber investment management organizations and real estate …


Hydrologic Effects of a Changing Forest Landscape

Of all the outputs of forests, water may be the most important. Streamflow from forests provides two-thirds of the nation’s clean water supply. Removing forest cover accelerates the rate that precipitation becomes …


Genetically Engineered Organisms, Wildlife, and Habitat: A Workshop Summary

Since the first commercial introduction of transgenic corn plants in 1995, biotechnology has provided enormous benefits to agricultural crop production. Research is underway to develop a much broader range of genetically engineered organisms …


Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision-Making

Nutrient recycling, habitat for plants and animals, flood control, and water supply are among the many beneficial services provided by aquatic ecosystems. In making decisions about human activities, such as draining a wetland for a housing …


The Impacts of Climate Change on the Global Ocean


The global ocean covers about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and acts as its primary reservoir of heat and carbon, absorbing over 90 percent of the surplus heat and about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with human activities, and receiving close to 100 percent of fresh water lost from land ice.

With the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, notably CO2 from fossil fuel combustion, the Earth’s climate and its oceans are now changing more rapidly than at any time since the advent of human societies. Society will increasingly face complex decisions about how to mitigate  adverse impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and species loss. Our publications explore the science, policies, and infrastructure needed to understand, manage, and conserve coastal and marine environments and resources.


Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human Coastal System: The Future of the U.S. Gulf Coast

The U.S. Gulf Coast provides a valuable setting to study deeply connected natural and human interactions and feedbacks that have led to a complex, interconnected coastal system. The physical landscape in the region has changed significantly due to broad-scale, long-term processes such as coastal …


Approaches to Understanding the Cumulative Effects of Stressors on Marine Mammals

Marine mammals face a large array of stressors, including loss of habitat, chemical and noise pollution, and bycatch in fishing, which alone kills hundreds of thousands of marine mammals per year globally. To discern the factors contributing to population trends, scientists must consider the …


Marine Protected Areas: Tools for Sustaining Ocean Ecosystems

Although the ocean-and the resources within-seem limitless, there is clear evidence that human impacts such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution disrupt marine ecosystems and threaten the long-term productivity of the seas. Declining yields in many fisheries and decay of treasured …


A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

Coral reef declines have been recorded for all major tropical ocean basins since the 1980s, averaging approximately 30-50% reductions in reef cover globally. These losses are a result of numerous problems, including habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing, disease, and climate change. …


A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are critical to ocean and human life because they provide food, living area, storm protection, tourism income, and more. However, human-induced stressors, such as overfishing, sediment, pollution, and habitat destruction have threatened ocean ecosystems globally for decades. In the …


Sustaining Ocean Observations to Understand Future Changes in Earth’s Climate

The ocean is an integral component of the Earth’s climate system. It covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface and acts as its primary reservoir of heat and carbon, absorbing over 90% of the surplus heat and about 30% of the carbon dioxide associated with human activities, and receiving close …


Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Coast communities and natural resources suffered extensive direct and indirect damage as a result of the largest accidental oil spill in US history, referred to as the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill. Notably, natural resources affected by this major spill include wetlands, coastal …


Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment

U.S. Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait and west of the Canadian border encompass a vast area that is usually ice covered for much of the year, but is increasingly experiencing longer periods and larger areas of open water due to climate change. Sparsely inhabited with a wide variety of …


The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response

Whether the result of an oil well blowout, vessel collision or grounding, leaking pipeline, or other incident at sea, each marine oil spill will present unique circumstances and challenges. The oil type and properties, location, time of year, duration of spill, water depth, environmental …


Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

The ocean has absorbed a significant portion of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. This benefits human society by moderating the rate of climate change, but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry. Carbon dioxide taken up by the ocean decreases the pH of the water and leads to a …


Antarctic Sea Ice Variability in the Southern Ocean-Climate System: Proceedings of a Workshop

The sea ice surrounding Antarctica has increased in extent and concentration from the late 1970s, when satellite-based measurements began, until 2015. Although this increasing trend is modest, it is surprising given the overall warming of the global climate and the region. Indeed, climate …


Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030

The United States has jurisdiction over 3.4 million square miles of ocean in its exclusive economic zone, a size exceeding the combined land area of the 50 states. This expansive marine area represents a prime national domain for activities such as maritime transportation, national security, …


Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean remains one of the world’s last frontiers. Covering nearly 14 million km² (an area approximately 1.4 times the size of the United States), Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent on Earth. While it is challenging to …


A Strategic Vision for NSF Investments in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research

Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research has produced a wide array of important and exciting scientific advances. Spanning oceanography to tectonics, microbiology to astrophysics, the extreme Antarctic environment provides unique opportunities to expand our knowledge about how our planet …


Understanding the Connections Between Coastal Waters and Ocean Ecosystem Services and Human Health: Workshop Summary

Understanding the Connections Between Coastal Waters and Ocean Ecosystem Services and Human Health discusses the connection of ecosystem services and human health. This report looks at the state of the science of the role of oceans in ensuring human health and identifies gaps and …


Fostering Reproducibility and Replicability in Science

Scientific research informs decisions that address many pressing issues, but what happens when results from one lab or study cannot be confirmed in another? Inconsistent results undermine the validity of scientific findings and contribute to the growing concern about replicability and reproducibility in science. A widespread strategy involving a variety of stakeholders is essential in order to promote openness and transparency in the research enterprise.

Three recent reports from the National Academies identify opportunities for meaningful improvement in research practices and offer guidance toward open, consistent, and objective science. Most recently, our 2019 report, Reproducibility and Replicability in Science, defines the terms “reproducibility” and “replicability” as distinct concepts that are each critical in achieving this goal. While many use these terms interchangeably, this differentiation is a critical step towards stronger scientific research practices and more reliable science. To learn more about open science, read or download our reports for free.

Reproducibility and Replicability in Science

One of the pathways by which the scientific community confirms the validity of a new scientific discovery is by repeating the research that produced it. When a scientific effort fails to independently confirm the computations or results of a previous study, some fear that it may be a symptom of a lack of rigor in science, while others argue …


Methods to Foster Transparency and Reproducibility of Federal Statistics: Proceedings of a Workshop

In 2014 the National Science Foundation (NSF) provided support to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a series of Forums on Open Science in response to a government-wide directive to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the federal government. However, the breadth of the work …


Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research

Openness and sharing of information are fundamental to the progress of science and to the effective functioning of the research enterprise. The advent of scientific journals in the 17th century helped power the Scientific Revolution by allowing researchers to communicate across time and space, using the technologies of that era to generate …


Fostering Integrity in Research

The integrity of knowledge that emerges from research is based on individual and collective adherence to core values of objectivity, honesty, openness, fairness, accountability, and stewardship. Integrity in science means that the organizations in which research is conducted encourage those involved to exemplify these values in every step of …


Statistical Challenges in Assessing and Fostering the Reproducibility of Scientific Results: Summary of a Workshop

Questions about the reproducibility of scientific research have been raised in numerous settings and have gained visibility through several high-profile journal and popular press articles. Quantitative issues contributing to reproducibility challenges have been considered (including improper data measurement and analysis, inadequate statistical …


Reproducibility Issues in Research with Animals and Animal Models: Workshop in Brief

In June 2014, the Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use organized a public workshop to discuss fundamental aspects of experimental design of research using animals and animal models, aimed at improving reproducibility. At this workshop, researchers from around the world explored the many facets of animal-based research that …


Providing Solutions for Critical Issues Facing Families Today

The prosperity of the United States relies on families that support one another throughout all stages of life. However, systematic issues and complex interpersonal relationships hinder many families’ ability to thrive. While scientific evidence demonstrates the importance of a supportive family environment on individual health outcomes and well-being, this knowledge is often not appropriately applied to policy or practice.

Building supportive families begins with eliminating systematic inequities in adolescence and promoting positive childhood experiences and relationships. Children are highly sensitive to their surroundings and interactions, and their healthy development relies on open communication and stability at home. Working adults also rely on their families to support them as they fulfill their responsibilities and navigate obstacles both inside and outside of the home. This is especially apparent in military families, who face additional complex challenges due to military life. However, the current system for fostering positive family relationships in difficult situations is limited and fails to provide all families with adequate support and tools for success.

As we age, family support becomes even more critical. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the value of family caregiver services to older adults was $234 billion, and that number is increasing as more adults reach older ages. As the role of family caregivers grows increasingly complex and demanding, it is imperative that caregivers receive the support they need to manage the needs of their aging family members. The United States health care system must advance from person-centered care to person and family-centered care in order to provide comprehensive support.

The United States government has a responsibility to ensure that its family programs reach those who need it the most. The education, health care, child welfare, and justice systems, and systems within the Department of Defense, must recognize the growing diversity of families and create adaptable programs that are equipped to support all families in need. Furthermore, these systems must leverage scientific evidence that reveals the multitude of factors that influence outcomes throughout all stages of life and apply that knowledge to programs and policy.


Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8

Decades of research have demonstrated that the parent-child dyad and the environment of the family—which includes all primary caregivers—are at the foundation of children’s well- being and healthy development. From birth, children are …


The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth

Adolescence—beginning with the onset of puberty and ending in the mid-20s—is a critical period of development during which key areas of the brain mature and develop. These changes in brain structure, function, and connectivity mark …


Strengthening the Military Family Readiness System for a Changing American Society

The U.S. military has been continuously engaged in foreign conflicts for over two decades. The strains that these deployments, the associated increases in operational tempo, and the general challenges of military life affect not only service …


Families Caring for an Aging America

Family caregiving affects millions of Americans every day, in all walks of life. At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are caregivers of an older adult with a health or functional limitation. The nation’s family caregivers …


Exploring Climate Change and Its Impacts

This June and July were the hottest months ever recorded. European countries faced record-breaking, life-threatening temperatures during a heatwave in June that was directly followed by an even hotter heatwave in July. Alaska and Siberia both experienced unparalleled heatwaves this summer. As the heatwaves travelled from Europe to Greenland, unprecedented amounts of Arctic ice melted. This year’s fluctuations echo the 2003 heatwave that killed thousands of Europeans but led to improvements in preparation, response, and recovery practices. These extreme weather events still have significant costs for individuals, society, and the environment and should be addressed on a national and global scale.

While the impact of humans on the intensity, frequency, and duration of heatwaves is well understood in the science community, more public awareness, data-gathering, and research are needed to apply this knowledge to policy and practice. It is critical to evaluate the consequences of human-induced climate change and subsequent extreme weather events to protect public health, infrastructure, and the environment.

Hippocrates identified the effect of climate on the spread and severity of epidemic diseases in the fifth century B.C.E., and this concept remains in public health conversations even today. Extreme weather events amplify the spread of disease. Our report Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events explores the relationship between global climate change and infectious diseases, highlighting common public health concerns specific to both high-income and low-income countries in a changing climate.

Global climate change and extreme weather events also impact human infrastructure, especially in cities and transportation systems. Numerous transportation systems across Europe were disrupted due to the heatwaves, among them a rail line in the United Kingdom whose passengers were stranded in unair-conditioned train cars. Our report Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change stresses that before, during, and after extreme weather events, it is critical to predict and manage risk, minimize disruption, and implement recovery procedures. This begins in the design and construction phase of city and transportation infrastructure.

The Arctic region is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Before the summer heatwaves travelled from European countries to Greenland, sea ice spread in the Arctic and Antarctic was already at record lows. The new wave of hot air then melted 1 billion tons of Greenland’s ice in one day. Our 2013 report, Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change, classified late-summer sea ice disappearance as a high risk within this century. Animals that are native to this melting environment face significant challenges as the thinning habitat alters their eating, migration and overall life cycles. The existence of Earth’s Arctic ice cover relies on enhanced cooperation across industries, better management and communication of research, and greater investment in research, community awareness, and young researchers.

Extreme heatwaves caused by manmade emissions are increasing in intensity and frequency, devastating both human and natural systems globally. Scientists have discussed the effect of high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since before the turn of the 20th century, but this knowledge is not sufficiently applied to policy. Our publications explore the possible impacts of climate change and provide guidance on navigating these challenges.


Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change

As climate has warmed over recent years, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded across the globe. Climate models simulate such changes in extreme events, and some of the reasons for the changes are well …


Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that …


Valuing Climate Damages: Updating Estimation of the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide

The social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) is an economic metric intended to provide a comprehensive estimate of the net damages – that is, the monetized value of the net impacts, both negative and positive – from the global climate change that results …


Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease Emergence: Workshop Summary

Long before the “germ theory” of disease was described, late in the nineteenth century, humans knew that climatic conditions influence the appearance and spread of epidemic diseases. Ancient notions about the effects of weather and climate on …


Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 2: Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and the Highway System: Practitioner’s Guide and Research Report

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 2: Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and the Highway System: Practitioner’s Guide and Research Report provides …


Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change

Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events summarizes a symposium held June 16–17, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. The fourth annual symposium promotes common understanding, efficiencies, and trans-Atlantic …


Linkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather Patterns: Summary of a Workshop

The Arctic has been undergoing significant changes in recent years. Average temperatures are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. The extent and thickness of sea ice is rapidly declining. Such changes may have an impact on …


The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions

Once ice-bound, difficult to access, and largely ignored by the rest of the world, the Arctic is now front and center in the midst of many important questions facing the world today. Our daily weather, what we eat, and coastal flooding are all …


Addressing the Global Challenge of Ebola and Infectious Disease Outbreaks

On Wednesday, July 17th, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee released a statement declaring the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) an international emergency. The statement announced that, on average, 80 new cases are reported each week along the northeastern border of the DRC. Because thousands cross this border to Rwanda daily, the national and regional risk is very high. Furthermore, the US Department of State now considers the North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in the DRC a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” zone due to the threats to safety caused by local conflicts and the Ebola outbreak. Preexisting unstable political conditions, poor security and limited infection control practices add to the complexity of the situation. Two community health workers were murdered last week, contributing to the unrest. Now the disease has reached Goma, a city with nearly two million people and an international airport, leading WHO to take action.

According to WHO, the virus continues to spread geographically, despite improvements in outbreak surveillance and decreases in virus transmissions. Additional resources, local community involvement, increased security measures, and efforts across multiple sectors are still necessary to control this outbreak. Our reports explore recent Ebola outbreaks, infectious disease control and prevention, and global health policy, and provide guidance for decision-making. All reports are free to read or download.


Integrating Clinical Research into Epidemic Response: The Ebola Experience

The 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic in western Africa was the longest and most deadly Ebola epidemic in history, resulting in 28,616 cases and 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Ebola virus has been known since 1976, when two …


Global Health and the Future Role of the United States

While much progress has been made on achieving the Millenium Development Goals over the last decade, the number and complexity of global health challenges has persisted. Growing forces for globalization have increased the interconnectedness of …


The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises

Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak many public- and private-sector leaders have seen a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the …